Natural products from actinomycetes

PI: Prof. Dr. Yvonne Mast

Actinomycetes are one of the most important sources for bioactive natural compounds. The majority of all antibiotics in use today are derived from secondary metabolites of actinomycetes. Genome sequence data revealed that these microorganisms encode ~10 times the number of secondary metabolites than anticipated from prior fermentation studies. Our research aims to exploit the full biosynthetic potential of actinomycetes. Thereby, main focus is laid on studying regulatory mechanisms in antibiotic-producing actinomycetes. Understanding regulatory networks on the one hand can help to optimize antibiotic production processes but it also allows us to targetedly activate „silent gene cluster“ expression as a basis for finding novel antibiotics. Besides that, we study the biosynthesis of selected natural compound types, such as streptogramins, phosphonates, or lysolipins. With the help of Genetic Engineering approaches we manipulate chemical structure characteristics in order to optimize compound properties.